Look at the start list for any of the three Olympic equestrian disciplines and men and women appear to be on equal footing. The same can’t be said for a racecard, but over the past 45 years there have been some major milestones for female jockeys.
On the eve of International Women’s Day (8 March 2017), and with the launch of The Silk Series — a pioneering new ￡100,000 race series for female jockeys — we celebrate some of the big moments.
The first ever race for female jockeys took place at Kempton Park, and was won by Meriel Tufnell.
Meriel Tufnell became Britain’s first female Champion Jockey.
Meriel Tufnell became European female Champion Jockey.
Diana Thorne became the first woman to ride a winner under National Hunt rules.
Geraldine Rees became the first female jockey to complete in the Grand National, finishing eighth on Cheers.
Gee Armytage became the first female jockey to win at the Cheltenham Festival winning the Kim Muir Challenge Cup and Mildmay of Flete Challenge Cup in the same year.
Gay Kelleway was the first woman to win at Royal Ascot on board Sprowston Boy in the Queen Alexandra Stakes.
Julie Krone was the first female jockey to win an American Classic at the Breeders’ Cup on board Colonial Affair in the Belmont Stakes.
Alex Greaves became the first woman to win a Group One, when dead-heating in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York on board Ya Malak.
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Hayley Turner (pictured above) became the first woman to ride 100 winners in the UK.
Fourteen years after Alex Greaves’ success, Hayley Turner became only the second women to win a Group One on board Dream Ahead in the Darley July Cup at Newmarket.
Carlisle Racecourse hosted the first ever race meeting solely for female jockeys.
Katie Walsh finished third in the Grand National on Seabass, giving her the highest finish for a female competitor.
The Girls team claimed its first victory in The Shergar Cup at Ascot Racecourse and Sammy-Jo Bell won the Silver Saddle as the leading jockey at the race meeting.
Michelle Payne became the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup in Australia on board Prince of Penzance, at odds of 100/1.
Lizzie Kelly became the first female jockey to win a Grade One over jumps riding Tea For Two to victory in the Feltham Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day.
ARC launch The Silk Series – a pioneering new ￡100,000 race series for female jockeys.